The Endless Summer
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The greatest surf movie ever made. "On any day of the year it is summer somewhere in the world..." Go with Robert August and Mike Hynson as they follow the summer season to Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Hawaii and California in search of the perfect wave. Still the ultimate surf film of all time!
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The movie follows a couple of surfers as they chase waves around the world in the burgeoning 'surf safari' culture that developed in the 1950s and 60s. This film led a whole new brand of adventurous surfers out to surf the world's remote places, to find their own little paradise, and of course, surfers still do.
It's charm is its innocence, and beauty, the thrill of searching wild places for the first time, and seeing different lands and cultures in the relatively innocent late 1950s and 60s.
Modern surfers will note such places now more well-known for their surfing in: SW Australia, Bells Beach (Victoria), Sydney, Cape St Francis (South Africa-there is an intersting side story here-see below), Raglan (New Zealand), Tahiti, and places still relatively unknown fo surfing: eg west Africa.
Their visit to Cape St Francis has an interesting side-story here. They were the first to surf it, thinking they had found a really fantastic and remote point break, when in fact an even better wave (one of the world's very best, if indeed not the best- outside perhaps Grajagan in Java, as most surfers think), was just around the corner at Jeffreys Bay. (I have surfed both J-Bay and Cape St Francis, and it is amazing that these two waves are so close to each other, and yet that they went half way round the world and unfortunately missed the far better one).
Innocent and full of charm and 60s-style rebellion, it is one for the collection, and to reminisce on times gone by. For the keen surfer it is definitely worth a look, especially if you plan to go on surfari-the spirit of adventure never changes.
The sequel (1994) is not rated as highly by some, but it has some good updated surf culture and surf spots such as: Tavarua, Grajagan, Burleigh, Elands Bay, Namibia, J bay (of course), Central America, and even Alaska (for the novelty, not the surf-even though Sitka has a spot rated highly-but very hard to get to-and very cold).
The 'endless summer' will continue, even after the surfers are gone.
The beauty of these two movies was their appeal to people who don't surf (heck, I can't even swim!). They were the un-Hollywood treatment for which surfers wanting a movie about their sport had been longing, true surfing films that won their approval, hands down. But they also entertained non-surfers, letting everybody in on the fun without alienating anybody.
As beautiful as the scenery and surfing footage are, it is actually the narration that sold me on "The Endless Summer" years ago. While Bruce Brown explains the terminology used by surfers, the narration isn't loaded to the gills with it, as though addressing surfers only. In short, everybody can understand what he was talking about and enjoy it. The intensity is genuine, and the humor is really, really funny.
"The Endless Summer Revisited" covers the making of the first two films, plus a lot of backstory, interviews, etc., and is definitely worth having.
My sons (now 15 & 8) aboslutely LOVE this movie, and couldn't wait to show it to their friends! The "extras" really added to the story. We actually met Robert August at a local surfing contest (we are not surfers, yet, but spend a lot of our summer at the beach); he was very friendly and took a few minutes to talk to the boys about surfing & the movie and sign their t-shirts.
I would highly recommend this movie for anyone who's ever spent time at the shore.